5 Ways How Breastfeeding Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer

Breast cancer is a prevalent cause of mortality in women of all ages. Cancer, in general, is believed to have genetic and environmental causes. Breast cancer is associated with fluctuating hormone levels, stress, and other lifestyle factors including smoking.

Interestingly, breastfeeding is one way to counter breast cancer. Research shows that the risk of breast cancer can be reduced significantly in women who choose to breastfeed. Here’s how it works.

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1. Postmenopausal Effects

Due to the conclusion of menopause the reduction of the risk of cancer

Breastfeeding helps in the release of the hormone oxytocin. In the short term, this reduces bleeding and helps expel the placenta more effectively. Over a longer period, this hormone helps to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer after menopause.

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In older women, menopause is a time of massive hormone upheaval. Breastfeeding earlier in life helps balance out the hormones better.1

2. More Breastfeeding, Less Cancer

More breasfeeeding done the likelihood of cancer reduces

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In a quantitative study on women over time, it was found that women who had more children and in turn spend a longer period breastfeeding them had cancer much less often than women who didn’t. Likewise, it was also observed that as the number of women choosing to breastfeed declined, the rates of incidence of breast cancer increased proportionately.2

3. Breastfeeding’s Effect In Short Term

Breastfeeding can reduce the chances of breast cancer by 2%

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One study has shown that even just five months of consistent breastfeeding can reduce breast cancer risk by 2 percent. In women who breastfeed their children for up to two years, the risk is consequently reduced by 8-10 percent.

That is a huge upside when it comes to combating cancer, and one worth investing in. Remember this is just an additional benefit. Breastfeeding by itself has huge advantages for the mother and child.3

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4. No Link With Age

Any woman of varying age can benefit from breastfeeding

The benefits of breastfeeding in cancer prevention cross the age barrier. Women of any age who have had children and chose to breastfeed have the advantage of reducing their cancer risk significantly.

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In fact, older women who chose to breastfeed had a much lower risk of breast cancer than their younger counterparts.4

5. Hormonal Influence

Hormonal influences have a major role to play in cancer formation

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Breastfeeding acts as a natural contraceptive by increasing the levels of estrogen in the body. This is much the same way by which a hormonal contraceptive pill works –both methods fool the body into thinking that it is already pregnant.

As a result of elevated female hormone levels, it is understood that the risk of breast cancer is reduced significantly, among other health benefits.5

Apart from all the benefits breastfeeding offers to infants, it is also very beneficial for mothers. It helps reduce postpartum bleeding, heals the uterus, reduces the risk of breast cancer as well as postnatal weight gain. It is also an excellent bonding exercise. Reach out to a lactation consultant if you wish to breastfeed but are having trouble with it.

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